Bhutia to stay with EB till retirement

Baichung bhutia

Baichung Bhutia signed a one-year contract with East Bengal on Monday in what appears to be a clear case of challenging the rules and forcing the Indian Football Association to take a decision on his suspension, even as Mohun Bagan called the deal a "farce".

Bhutia, despite a six-month suspension from Bagan and a year of his contract left with the club, said his agreement with Bagan was only a Memorandum of Understanding and not a contract as there was no mention of any advance payment. But with the Indian Football Association's (IFA) governing body yet to take a decision on his status, Bhutia's signing may further complicate matters.

"I started my big-time football with this club and I will retire from this club. I had some misunderstanding with the East Bengal management in 2006, but never said I wouldn't be returning here," Bhutia said here. "Their (East Bengal officials) stand in the recent crisis has shown that they really care. There is a difference between the administrative behaviour of the two clubs," he added. But Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra ridiculed the signing. "East Bengal never and cannot say that Bhutia is theirs, until and unless he is released by us. Whatever signing happened in front of supporters and media persons was just a farce. It does not hold true," Mitra said.

Meanwhile, Bhutia's signing has made East Bengal reconsider their decision not to release players for the national camp, which begins June 25 in Dubai. EB have now allowed other national team players to join the camp.

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